Q 21 // Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A // The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ,[a] who, being the eternal Son of God[b] became man,[c] and so was and continues to be God and man, in two distinct natures and one person for ever.[d]
[a]. John 14:6; Acts 4:12; 1 Timothy 2:5-6
[b]. Psalm 2:7; Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; John 1:18
[c]. Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23; John 1:14; Galatians 4:4
[d]. Acts 1:11; Hebrews 7:24-25
There is nothing more central to the Christian faith than Christology (understanding of Jesus). This is because Jesus is the key to God’s revelation. He is the key because He shows us how God’s justice and mercy can coexist.
In order to reveal this to us, Jesus has to be both the source of justice and mercy. Romans 3.26 tells us that Jesus accomplished this on the cross: It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
He had to both assure that sin would be punished and that people would be saved. He did this on the cross by accepting the punishment and paying for the salvation of His people. To be this perfect sacrifice, Jesus both had to be a human and divine. He had to be human so that He could represent the human race and act as our Second Adam (Romans 5). He had to be God so that He could maintain perfection and so that His death would be powerful enough to atone. The hypostatic union (fully God/fully man) is necessary for Him to stand before God in perfection on behalf of us. In this, He mediates the relationship between God and man. 1 Timothy 2.5-6 tells us:
For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
Our Christology is not just a matter of getting the details right, it is the testimony of who God is. John 1.18 describes the witness of Jesus this way: No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. In other words, who we believe Jesus is defines who we believe God is. The redemptive work of Christ on the cross (and the resulting trust in Him alone) is the mark of faith (and the only way to salvation).
Which brings us to current events: do Muslims and Christians worship the same God? Based on the firing of a teacher at Wheaton college and some confusing comments made by the pope, this question has debated on the news over the last few weeks. The focus is often on the fact that both derive from Abraham and thus spring from the same source. The problem is, God the Father without Jesus gives us structure without salvation; rules without redemption. Without the sacrifice of Jesus, it is a very different God. The same test goes for Mormonism, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and any other group that claims to worship God. If it isn’t the same Jesus, it isn’t the same God.